Robotic Nephroureterectomy for Kidney Cancer

In some instances, patients with kidney cancer may be advised to undergo robotic nephroureterectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon makes small incisions in the patient’s midsection and removes the cancerous kidney and attached ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. Robotic nephroureterectomy is most commonly used to treat patients with transitional cell carcinoma, a specific kind of cancer that forms in the lining of the urinary tract, which consists of the kidneys, bladder and ureters.

How is robotic nephroureterectomy performed?

When performing a robotic nephroureterectomy, a surgeon inserts a small camera and surgical instruments through quarter-inch incisions. The surgeon then uses the surgical instruments to remove the cancerous kidney and ureter from the surrounding tissue. After dividing the kidney artery and vein and separating the ureter, the kidney and ureter are placed into a bag and removed through a slightly widened incision.

Robotic vs. open nephroureterectomy

While a nephroureterectomy has traditionally been performed as an open procedure, robotic nephroureterectomy has quickly become the preferred method. This is because, when compared to an open procedure, robotic nephroureterectomy typically offers:

  • A shorter recovery time – While an open nephroureterectomy usually requires a hospital stay of four to seven days, patients who have a robotic nephroureterectomy are often able to go home after only two to three days. Normal activities can usually be resumed in two to three weeks, as compared to four to six weeks for an open procedure.
  • Reduced pain – Robotic procedures result in less trauma to the body due to the smaller incisions involved, and also less tissue disruption, leading to less pain following the procedure.
  • Enhanced surgical precision – The tools used in a robotic nephroureterectomy have a greater range of motion than that of a human hand, resulting in enhanced surgical precision.

Robotic nephroureterectomy at Moffitt Cancer Center

In Moffitt Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Oncology Program, our multispecialty team ensures each patient’s treatment plan addresses the unique challenges of his or her malignancy. If a nephroureterectomy is determined to be the best option for you, you can take comfort knowing that our surgeons are highly experienced in performing robotic nephroureterectomy. 

To speak with a Moffitt physician about which kidney cancer treatment approach may be best for you, request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.